J.J. Abrams will apparently be passing the Star Wars baton to Looper director Rian Johnson. Though Deadline's Mike Fleming Jr. reported that Lucasfilm is "making a deal" with Johnson to write and direct Episodes VIII and IX, reports from both The Wrap and The Hollywood Reporter noted that while Johnson will write and direct Episode VIII he is writing a treatment for the ninth, but not set to direct it.
Johnson is recently best known for directing Looper, but his first feature was 2005 high school noir Brick. He also directed some classic Breaking Bad episodes including the final season's heralded "Ozymandias."
The prospect of Johnson, whose work is beloved, directing a Star Wars film is great news for the franchise (and also for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who would make for a fascinatingly intense Jawa), but perhaps bad news for people who are fans of Johnson's original work. "The 'Star Wars' franchise has become a horrifying honey trap, entangling all of our best and most original filmmakers," Daniel Fienberg tweeted. Johnson is now the third promising director Disney has enlisted, following Chronicle's Josh Trank and Godzilla's Gareth Edwards, who have been tapped to direct spinoff films.
Update: Johnson tweeted this telling clip from The Right Stuff.